This year, I added fewer coins to my collection than any previous year. On the other hand, this Top 10 has been my costliest ever, thanks largely to one especially pricey piece that, in addition to being the most expensive coin I've ever purchased, cost about the same as all 10 coins in my 2019 list combined. Thankfully, not all of them hit my wallet hard, with the cheapest one on the list being part of a 4-coin group lot that was won for $55 (I would have paid more for just the one coin). Also notable for me is that for the first time, I don't have a single Roman Republican coin on the list, and the only one struck at the Rome mint at all wasn't actually made for circulation in Rome. I still consider myself a traditional generalist collector, but I'm definitely leaning more towards Greek and Roman Provincial these days. I see the trend continuing for myself, too, especially if I can continue to pick up tasty coins like the one below... 10. TROAS, Dardanos. AR Obol. Chicken n' waffles!! @TIF was the first to give this delicacy of Dardanos its lip-smacking name, and after she acquired hers last year, I'd been hankering after one to call my own. Mine is nowhere as nice as hers, but the way I see it, each example of this dishy type can be considered its own plate coin. 9. BITHYNIA, Herakleia Pontika. AE19. Ex William Stancomb Collection A type duplicate of a coin that appears in my 2014 Top 10 list. Though this example has the bonus of being twice published (in SNG Stancomb as well as Stancomb's paper 'The Autonomous Bronze Coinage of Heraclea Pontica'), that wasn't what drew me to it. Instead, I was just really tickled that its obverse countermark, neatly placed over the portrait of an aged, bearded Herakles, was that of a youthful, clean-shaven Herakles... almost as if the demigod was afflicted by a curious case of the Benjamin Buttons. Fact about coin collecting: there are no silly reasons for collecting, but there sure are a whole lot silly collectors. 8. CARACALLA. THRACE, Pautalia. AE29. This coin would have ranked higher if its surfaces were nicer (and also if it hadn't been such a pain to photograph). I think it's such a fantastic reverse type, though, portraying the nymph of the river Strymon surrounded by four small figures reaping the bounties of the land. The best part here is that the engraver helpfully spelled out in the accompanying legends exactly what these bounties were - BOTPY (grapes), CTAXY (grain), APΓY/POΣ (silver), and XPY/COC (gold). Perhaps the city was trying to attract settlers by advertising its natural wealth? If so, I'd give it full marks for the clarity of its marketing message on this coin. 7. BRUTTIUM, Rhegion. AR Litra. Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection Some day, I'd like to get one of those big Messana tetradrachms with the mule biga and hare to accompany the one on my little litra here. Both types were first struck by Anaxilas, who actually ruled Rhegion before he took over Messana. Yet, when we think of a prancing rabbit on a Greek coin, it's inevitably Messana we think of. That mine is one of the rare issues from Rhegion makes it, to my mind, a coin that can be complemented but not replaced by its larger more impressive brethren. I'll take the opportunity here to also thank Ms Clain-Stefanelli for collecting some truly interesting, under the radar coins! 6. COMMODUS. THRACE, Pautalia. AE24. This one's like a Ripley's Believe It or Not exhibit on a coin. The snake depicted on the reverse is Glykon, a phoney deity invented around AD 160 by the self-declared prophet Alexander of Abonoteichus. Alexander apparently dressed up a large tame snake and claimed it was an oracle, charging people a drachm and two obols for prophecies and medical advice. The scam was incredibly successful - in one year, he had as many as 80,000 customers - garnering Alexander great fortune and political influence. The 2nd century satirist Lucian of Samosata wrote the story 'Alexander the False Prophet' about the cult of Glykon and its founder, and in it he claimed that Alexander had even persuaded the Emperor to issue a coin with the likeness of Glykon on it. Coins such as this one issued in Thrace, and others struck decades after Alexander's death, attest to the spread and surviving popularity of the worship of this weird, made-up god. 5. KINGDOM OF MAURETANIA. Juba II & Cleopatra Selene II. AR Denarius. Ex Stein A. Evensen Collection I'd always wanted one of these rare portrait coins of Cleopatra Selene II, the daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII, so this was a big score for me. History hasn't left us with many details of her life, but her coins always spark my imagination about what it must have been like for the last surviving Ptolemy, an orphan of the Hellenistic era, who was queen only by the grace of the Roman emperor who had brought about the deaths of her parents. I also think about how Augustus might have felt looking at one of her coins, almost rebelliously inscribed in Greek with the name of Cleopatra, some even flaunting the royal symbols of Egypt. Perhaps after momentarily seeing in her portrait the faces of his hated but by then long defeated nemeseis, the victor of Actium might then have chuckled smugly before setting the coin aside, knowing that the spirited but ultimately powerless young queen in Mauretania would be no threat to him at all. 4. TITUS. AR Cistophorus. Ex Stein A. Evensen Collection; ex Harry N. Sneh (“Sierra”) Collection I'm no Flavian specialist, so I hope my reasons for liking this Titus cistophorus as much as I do are sufficient (let me know if I've missed out anything, guys). Firstly, at 10.8g and 26.5mm, it's just a damn pleasing chunk of good Roman silver. It also has the bold and handsome portrait of Titus that I'd been wanting for my collection. For a Flavian coin, its pedigree to Harry Sneh's collection is impeccable, a fact I didn't realize until @David Atherton pointed it out. It's a rare and historically interesting type, commemorating the restoration of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Rome's most important temple. And last but not least... what about those crazy snake-legged giants in the pediment! 3. CILICIA, Soloi-Pompeiopolis. AE26. Two crusty old guys on a gnarly Provincial, or a rare and rather remarkable celebration of philosophy and poetry on an ancient coin? Well, both, and so totally up my alley. I posted a thread a short while ago that goes further into who Chrysippus and Aratus of Soloi were, but to boil it down its essence, even though these two weren't emperors or gods, I think it can be argued that for their contributions to thought, reason, and knowledge, they're more worthy of numismatic immortality than the great majority of power-seeking purple-togaed dudes whose coins we do collect. 2. ANTINOUS. EGYPT, Alexandria. AE Drachm. In contrast to Chrysippus and Aratus on the previous coin, Antinous here might have done little more than look pretty and die young. The story of Hadrian's love for him, and his unprecedented deification after death, however, is one of Roman history's most fascinating and enduring. As Royston Lambert put it in his book, 'Beloved and God': "After his two brief decades of human life, this young man had just attained immortality and, with it, at least another two millenia of posthumous and turbulent notoriety." A coin of Antinous is one that I've wanted ever since I started collecting ancients, but at that time, the idea of spending that much on a single coin made it seem an unattainable goal. This one certainly wasn't cheap, but IMHO, it could easily have gone for more. Obviously, I'm glad it didn't! 1. CRETE, Gortyna. AR Stater. I imagine that when most collectors think about pricier Greek silver coins, these staters of Gortyna depicting Europa seated in the branches of a tree don't immediately come to mind. I've always loved how distinctive and unusual the type is, though, and I fell in love with this particular example the minute I saw it. That was 5 years ago; I was underbidder on that occasion, and it was the one auction loss that really kicked me in the proverbial gut. Sure, there are others out there in higher grade struck from dies with better technical execution, but this coin's unique combination of wear, toning, and style just made it the most alluring of its type for me. The next few years of searching just cemented the thought that this would be the ultimate "one that got away", so when it came up for auction again earlier this year, I had to rub my eyes and do a double take. My coin budget was at a historical low, but I promised myself (and my wife) that I'd sell as many coins as required to justify the acquisition. This time around, the coin gods decided to give me a break, and for exactly one increment above my 2015 max bid, I won it - my favorite coin of 2020, certainly in the Top 5 of all-time for many years to come, without qualification the most beautiful coin in my collection, and, uhm... my second favorite ever stater of Gortyna? Thanks for reading, folks. Keep those lists coming, and here's wishing everyone a better year in and out of Coinland in 2021!